Q&A: BitRouter founder reflects on Iowa, recessions and big lessons
He started his first company in 1997 and today heads up BitRouter, a provider of software for digital TV platforms that has its headquarters in San Diego and its engineering office in West Des Moines.
"At some point, it dawned on me, I was the one making the sale, and the guy in the suit next to me was making the commission," Miglani said about the decision to launch his first business.
Over the course of an hour, he talked about dealing with government regulations in the TV business, finding talented employees, when not to scrimp on professional and legal services and balancing the budget. As an immigrant from India, he also briefly spoke on visa regulations and international manufacturing (for more on Miglani's perspective as an international entrepreneur, see our previous Startup Act coverage).
We caught up with Miglani after his talk for a quick interview.
Silicon Prairie News: You came to Iowa for your education. Why did you decide to stay?
Gopal Miglani: The work ethic is phenomenal. You know, because we all came from Microware, which was an Iowa Company, we had this talent pool here that would be hard to replicate. I think that's the key. The downside is, Des Moines is hard to get to.
SPN: You've had to deal with changing federal regulations and multiple recessions during your career. What's your advice for overcoming obstacles that are out of your control?
GM: Life comes at you, and you have to duck and jump. If you're the kind of person for whom the glass is always half-full, then everything's an opportunity. So, when customers complain about something, it means they'll buy the solution from you.
SPN: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting out?
GM: I think my latest, greatest thing is looking out for the bottom line. You know, we were caught up in the dot-com bubble of revenue, revenue, revenue, but I wish I'd taken every opportunity to take some money off the table. I think that's really important, to pay yourself.
Credits: Photo of Miglani from bitrouter.com.